I am Not a Lady
Naomi Aldort’s Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves
“In the coming chapters, you will learn how to get your own emotional reactions and conditioning out of the way so your child can be who she is without being held back by your past, by your anxiety about the future, or by your concern about what others may say about you as a parent.
You will learn to nurture without shaping, like a gardener who waters the flowers, but doesn’t help them open nor choose their shapes and colors.
Our evolutionary progress toward more peaceful, connected, and self-realized human beings depends on letting go of the attachment to the way it used to be and of the need to control.
Parenting is a path of maturation and growth if we dare to learn more and teach less. When you have the courage to stop defending the way you are, or the way your parents raised you, you can open up to the possibility that you are much greater and more magnificent and capable than you thought you were.”
Click the following link to access the PDF file of an Islamic parenting workshop I gave recently based on the above excerpt from Aldort: Parenting Workshop-Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves
Let me share with you a personal example of how I try to control my daughter and how it makes both of us miserable:
- My daughter is wild, carefree, loud, and opinionated (I now realize these make her AMAZING)
- The old tape in my head wants: lady, quite, pays attention to detail and cleanliness.
- SOURCE of these thoughts is my mother and society.
To change her, I ask her to wash her hands with soap ten times a day, change her clothes five times a day, tidy up her room, brush her hair and put it up nicely, etc. Trying to fit her into my version of her is a constant and exhausting source of friction in our relationship.
Litmus Test: So when I stop and listen to my heart, it is so obvious that I am not at peace and she is not at peace. Not at all! God, who would like being told that there is something wrong with who they are.
After starting to read Aldort’s book… long after… I started to see what is wrong with this picture. I have NO RIGHT to make her into a lady. A restricted, girly-girl, can’t enjoy nature because God-forbid she might get a stain on her dress, kind of lady.
The SUPER SAD part is I want her to be a lady because this is exactly what MY MOTHER did to me! I was like Yasmin and she kept pushing me to be a lady. She kept making jokes (which felt more like jabs) about sending me to lady-school in England. I now wish she cared more about nurturing my creative, unique qualities and my humanity more than how I acted right by some oppressive Victorian standards.
So trying to notice that I am mimicking my mother each time I interfere to my own daugther and to unwind the recording in my head has been painfully hard. Issues I have changed for the most part are:
Cleanliness: We now have chickens and the kids play with mud and chicken poop all day long, yeah!
Neat clothing: she has a free-spirited hippie style!
Neat hair: she does it when she wants, as she wants…
I try to minimize the no’s or interventions to when absolutely necessary for her safety and health.
Where I still couldn’t change but am working on it: her room design, neatness when we go to my work… I am still not completely free of what others might think… And how sad, if you think about it, that kids are completely free of these pressures when they are little and WE, yes WE, mold them into caring about what others might say and enslave them to these peer pressures for life! The good news is that I am working on it, for myself and for her.